The Utah Jazz, meanwhile, have struggled to withstand all the injuries that have plagued them this season.
In their final game before the All-Star game, Bryant looks to lead the NBA-leading Lakers to a season-high eighth straight victory Wednesday when they visit the Jazz.
Los Angeles (42-9) was able to avoid major injury over the first three months of the season, but its luck changed last week when emerging star center Andrew Bynum was lost for eight to 12 weeks to a knee injury.
The Lakers’ high-powered offense hasn’t skipped a beat since Bynum’s injury. The Lakers defeated Oklahoma City 105-98 on Tuesday for their seventh straight win - five of which have come without Bynum.
On Tuesday, the reigning league MVP showed no lingering effects from the flu that slowed him in Sunday’s 101-91 win over Cleveland, as Bryant - 30 years, 171 days old - finished with 34 points to become the youngest player to reach 23,000. Wilt Chamberlain was formerly the youngest at 30 years, 176 days.
“It’s always fun whenever you talk about the history of the game,” Bryant said. “It’s always a tremendous honor.”
The 11-time All-Star is averaging 35.2 points in the five games since Bynum’s injury, while the Lakers are averaging 114.9 points during their winning streak - 6.3 better than their league-leading season average.
Bryant had 40 points and seven rebounds in the Lakers’ 113-100 win over the Jazz (29-23) on Jan. 2, their first meeting since last season’s playoffs. Los Angeles, which defeated Utah in six games in last season’s Western Conference semifinals, has also taken six of the last seven regular-season meetings.
While the Lakers are clearly title contenders, injuries could keep Utah out of the playoffs for the first time in three years.
Stars Carlos Boozer (left knee) and Andrei Kirilenko (right ankle) have each missed significant playing time, causing the two-time defending Northwest Division champion Jazz to fall to ninth place in the West. Boozer and Kirilenko are both expected to return shortly after the All-Star break.
Utah, which has only five fewer losses than it registered all of last season, lost 116-96 at Golden State on Sunday.
“We need to finish out the first half of the season strong,” forward Paul Millsap said “Hopefully we can get this win on Wednesday versus the Lakers, get a little bit of momentum going into the All-Star break, come back at full strength, and try to make a run at this thing.”
Deron Williams has helped pick up the slack with Boozer and Kirilenko sidelined.
The fourth-year point guard, who missed 13 of Utah’s first 15 games with a sprained left ankle, had 31 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds in Sunday’s loss, and is averaging 33.5 points, 7.8 assists, and shooting 57.5 percent in his last four games.
Williams struggled with his shot in the loss to the Lakers last month, missing 14 of 18 attempts from the field, but managed to finish with 10 points and 12 assists.